I woke up today feeling pretty awesome. I officially think Qi Gong does help speed up the recovery from sickness as it felt like my cold was about 95% gone, and it had only been 4 days since I first felt its affects.
After finishing off a bit more writing and eating a good Muslim lunch I decided to head back down to the lake where the 10 day challenge first started. It was a little bit chilly today but I found the perfect spot next the lake where the sun hit me directly from the sky and at the same time from the reflection of the water. I put on some beautiful music and got so warm in this spot I had to take off my jacket and my long sleeve shirt and just bask in the sunlight in my tee-shirt. It was super relaxing and really felt as if it was the middle of summer again.
Later I walked all the way around the big lake and saw people fishing and hanging out around the water. I felt a general peace and appreciation for everything around. Being around nature really does help to relax a person and make them feel as if all is right in the world.
After getting a few more things done back in my apartment I wasn’t sure what to do before my 6:00 festival dinner, so I decided to look up movies that will blow your mind on google. I found a good list and I had seen a few of them but one I hadn’t seen that I decided to check out was American Beauty.
It really was an incredible movie! It’s rare that I find a movie I really really like, that makes me think about everything and teaches me something but this definitely was one of those movies. There was just so much packed into it, so many things to take out of it, so many interesting characters, so much about people and life to think about. I loved it.
If you haven’t seen it here’s a few quotes I loved from the movie to get you into it.
I copied them from IMDB:
“I feel like I’ve been in a coma for the past twenty years. And I’m just now waking up. “ – Lester Bernam
“This isn’t life it’s just stuff, and it’s become more important to you than living!” – Lester Bernam
“It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing and there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. And this bag was, like, dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. And that’s the day I knew there was this entire life behind things, and… this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video’s a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember… and I need to remember…” – Ricky Fitts
“I had always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. First of all, that one second isn’t a second at all, it stretches on forever, like an ocean of time… For me, it was lying on my back at Boy Scout camp, watching falling stars… And yellow leaves, from the maple trees, that lined my street… Or my grandmother’s hands, and the way her skin seemed like paper… And the first time I saw my cousin Tony’s brand new Firebird… And Janie… And Janie… And… Carolyn. I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me… but it’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life… You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry… you will someday.” – Lester Bernam
After the movie I got a call from Baker he was waiting for me outside to take me to his place for the dumpling festival. He was real happy with the housewarming gift I brought him, especially after I pointed out it was a high percentage real mans drink! After arriving they apologized that they were working late today and hadn’t had time to prepare anything. They had a nice place, it was just one floor of a building but it seemed to have everything a family would need. I’m definitely getting used to the size of things here in China, and I think when I go home my house will seem overly huge. They turned the tv on for me to the English channel, and I realized it was pretty much the first time I had watched tv since arriving in china 4 months ago. I do keep up with my favorite few shows on the internet, but besides that I haven’t missed the lack of TV for a minute. At one point a Chinese beer commercial came on, and I was happy to see even in China beer commercials are totally awesome.
Next it was time to make the dumplings! The whole making of the dumplings was pretty cool and fun. First the dough is rolled and stretched then cut up into small cylinders. Next it’s pounded flat. From there you grab chopsticks then load on the insides (some crazy mix of pork and veggies). After you fold the dumpling in a specific way then make sure to seal off any holes so they can be boiled without the insides falling out. I was pretty bad at it in the beginning but I got the hang of it quickly. Just when I thought I had the art mastered Bakers wife started folding a new style of dumpling much fancier than the ones I had been making. They looked way cooler but I never managed to get them quite right!
For the meal itself we boiled some dumplings and fried some other ones, then made some special sauces to dip them in. On the table we also had carrots and celery and peppers to eat with it and a big plate of fish on the side. The dumplings were pretty delicious but I have to say I like the fried ones way more than the boiled ones. Baker apologized to me that he couldn’t go heavy on the baijou with me tonight because he had to drive later and he told me how in China if you get caught drunk behind the wheel they fine you a bunch then take your entire license away, your forced to do the tests all over again. Instead he kept filling my glass with copious amounts of red wine ^^. After dinner I met his 13 year old son, who strangely enough used to study with my friend Taryn at the Shunde Lingdong school… small world!
It was a fun dinner and it was really nice to be invited into the homes of these people I had just met and to be treated so well. They were really hospitable and even Bakers wife who didn’t speak any English tried really hard to be engaging and friendly with me. The whole experience felt like quite an honor.
At the end of the night Bakers wife cut us up some fruit and then we drove back to Jiaxin. I thanked Baker for the night and he said next time we’d pound back the 52% Baijou together 😀
On my walk back I poked my head in the local bar and noticed my friends Marty and Kam hanging out. It turned out it was Marty’s last night before heading back to Canada for Christmas so it was awesome to have a chance to say goodbye to him. We drank some coffee and beer while watching Kung Fu movies on the bar’s TV screen. Later they headed out so Marty could pack up his things before his early ferry ride to Hong Kong tomorrow and after watching a few more awesome kung fu fight scenes I decided to call it a night.
The final day of the challenge was an interesting balance of peaceful relaxation, productivity, new ideas, new experiences, meeting new people and spending time with old friends. I think it’s nice balanced days like this that I enjoy the most, they give me a feeling that things are working out okay and that everything is fine just the way it is.